PPP aspirant files nomination to contest Buem seat

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) parliamentary candidate for Buem Constituency in the Volta Region, Elvis Akoto-Ade has filed his nomination to contest the by-election slated for 26 February.

Mr Akoto-Ade presented his completed nomination forms and the GH¢1,000 filing fee to Reverend Simon Yakanu, Retuning Officer in charge of the Constituency around 1500 hrs on Tuesday.

Rev Yakanu said he was satisfied with the completed nomination forms and thanked the Party for contributing to the democratic process of the country.

Source: GNA


Nepal opposition rejects election call, vows to step up protests

Nepal’s main opposition parties vowed on Thursday to intensify street protests against the government, rejecting a plan to hold parliamentary elections in May, a sign of deepening brinkmanship threatening to wreck a fragile peace process.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, a former Maoist rebel leader, announced at a rally of 10,000 people on Wednesday that elections, earlier scheduled for last November, would be held in May to elect a special assembly to draw up a new constitution for the young Himalayan republic.

“It is just a bluff,” Madhav Kumar Nepal, a former prime minister and a senior leader of the opposition Communist UML party, said of the election call.

“It is a caretaker government; there are serious questions about its legitimacy. How can it hold the election?” Nepal told Reuters.

The aid and tourism dependent country has been in political limbo for months.

Differences among politicians over issues including the distribution of power and resources to states under a planned federal system resulted in the dissolution of parliament in May last year. A new assembly is needed to complete a draft constitution.

But opposition parties are calling for Bhattarai’s resignation, saying he had already failed to hold elections once.

They want a national unity government to oversee a vote and have organized protests to ratchet up pressure for the leader to quit. Dozens of people have been injured in the protests and activists recently stoned Bhattarai’s car to stop him from attending a party meeting in the west of the country.

More protests are planned for next week.

“Street protest is a must. Great achievements of the democratic system were received through street protests in the past and it is possible now as well,” UML leader Jhalnath Khanal said, news service reported.

The ruling party says opposition parties are afraid of facing the voters because they fear losing.

Politicians are under pressure from donors to hold the election early and establish accountability in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Analysts say chances of holding elections in the middle of the year are diminishing as the deadlock is delaying redrawing the constituencies and updating the voters’ list. The next window for a vote is November this year or the spring of 2014.

Ordinary people enduring daily power cuts of up to 14 hours, shortages of fuel, unemployment and near-double digit inflation think feuding politicians do not care about their plight.

“They have no concern for us. They are power hungry and selfish,” said Jagat Pokharel, a 25-year-old college student.



Source: Reuters


NDC candidate for Buem by-election to continue work of Kamel

Mr Daniel Kwesi Ashiamah, National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate for the Buem Constituency by-election, on Wednesday promised to continue from where the late Henry Ford Kamel, former Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, left off, if elected as MP.

“I first want to honour promises Mr Kamel made to our people, then I know his soul will rest in peace for him to bless me to be able to carry on with my plans for the area,” he said. 

Mr Ashiamah, who said this in an interview with the GNA in Ho, said he would use the first 100 days to take stock of the work of the late Kamel, who was also the Volta Regional Minister.

Mr Ashiamah said like the late Kamel, he would work to maintain the peace and unity to facilitate the development of the area.

He said: “I want to lead with love and integrity so I am trying to get everybody involved, especially my party people to continue the good works of the late Kamel”.

Mr Ashiamah said if voted to represent the people of Buem in Parliament, he would focus on improving education, sanitation, environment and health sectors.

Mr Ashiamah won the NDC primary last Sunday, to contest a by-election for the Buem constituency, scheduled for Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

The by-election was occasioned by the sudden death of the late Kamel on Tuesday, December 25, 2012.

Source: GNA


Appointments Committee to vet three today

Parliament’s Appointments Committee is expected to vet three ministerial nominees on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at the Speaker’s Conference Room.

The vetting comes a day after the Committee’s report on the first batch vetted last week was approved by the House.

The Committee will vet two on Thursday to exhaust the official list presented to it by Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho.

The three expected to appear before the Committee on Wednesday are Akwasi Oppong Fosu (Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development), Nana Oye Lithur (Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection) and Dr Oteng Adjei (Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation), Majority Chief Whip Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak told TV3 News on Monday.

Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Minister-designate for Education) and Dr Edward Omane-Boamah (Minister-designate for Communications) will be vetted on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the seven approved by the House on Tuesday – Seth Terkper for the Finance Ministry, Hannah Tetteh for the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Ministry, Alhaji Collins Dauda for the Works, Housing and Water Resources, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani for the Roads and Highways Ministry, Clement Kofi Humado for the Agric Ministry, Alhaji A.B. Fuseini for Lands and Natural Resources Ministry and Mahama Ayariga for the Information and Media Relations Ministry – are expected to be sworn in by President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday to start official duties.



NDC files response to election petition

The National Democratic Congress has described the petition challenging the results of the December 7, 2012 presidential elections as an “afterthought and in bad faith.”

It is accordingly praying the Supreme Court not to countenance the petition since it was without merit and an attempt to “deny certain Ghanaians of their constitutional right without any justification.”

“Petitioners, through the acts of their polling agents at the various polling stations as well as acts of other representatives, clearly acknowledged that the presidential elections were validly conducted and claims to the contrary now by the petitioners are an afterthought, and in bad faith and cannot be countenanced,” the NDC’s response to the petition stated.

“The conduct of both the presidential and parliamentary elections involved citizens exercising their right to vote in full view of the public, the media and domestic as well as international election
observers,” the NDC pointed out.

According to the NDC, the results of the presidential showed that the first respondent defeated the first petitioner in eight out of the ten regions of the country, adding, “petitioners are acting in bad faith and that the petition is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the process of this Honourable Court.”

The first respondent in the petition is President John Dramani Mahama while Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is the first petitioner in the petition dated December 28, 2012.

The other petitioners are Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, the running mate of Nana Akufo-Addo and Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey. Also joined to the petition is the Electoral
Commission (EC), the body which presided over the elections.

According to the petitioners, irregularities recorded at 4,709 polling stations, favoured President Mahama adding that 24,000 of the pink results sheets from some polling stations indicated that those
irregularities were enough to affect the outcome of the presidential election.

They are accordingly requesting the court to annul results declared in the polling stations where the alleged irregularities were recorded but President Mahama and the EC have denied the claims and are currently challenging the petitioners to provide the names and codes of polling stations where the alleged irregularities took place.

The NDC applied for a joinder three days after the filing of the petition, and after legal battle between the lawyers for the NDC and the petitioners, the Supreme Court on January 22, 2013 gave the NDC the nod to join the petition.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to allow it to join the petition, the NDC in a response filed at 3:00 p.m. on January 28, 2013, stated that “the categories of alleged irregularities set out by petitioners clearly overlap, and, therefore, adding the votes in these categories as a pattern of obfuscation resorted to by petitioners to create an appearance of a real issue when there is none.”

Source: Daily Graphic


Minority can’t “halt” gov’t business – Alhaji Muntaka

Majority Chief Whip Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Constituency and a member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament says government business, and Ghana for that matter, cannot halt because of the decision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to challenge the results of the 2012 Elections.

He said if indeed NPP MPs believed in rule of law, they would not have boycotted business in Parliament “once you have been given the opportunity for your case to be heard.”

Speaking on TV3’s late night news broadcast programme News @ 10 via phone, Alhaji Muntaka disclosed that report on the seven vetted nominees of President John Dramani Mahama will be put on the floor of Parliament for deliberations on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 when it resumes sitting, without recourse to reports that the Minority will boycott the discussion.

“They (NPP MPs) are members of Parliament and Parliament is meeting on Tuesday,” he said, implying the Minority are expected to make an appearance during resumption of sitting.

He noted that MPs work with the rules and the Majority is working within Parliament’s rules, which are backed by the Constitution, he added.

He explained that according to the rules, there has to be one-third of MPs present in order to form a quorum to conduct business while half of the total membership is required for decisions to be taken.

“We the Majority [members] are not taking chances,” he indicated.

“We will be there to ensure that the debate goes on and if it comes to voting, we will make sure that the president gets his ministers to start business,” Alhaji Muntaka told host Kenneth Osei Ampofo.

He, however, admitted that “it would have been more excellent and more beautiful if all of us were there”, arguing that the NDC perfectly formed quorum on the Appointments Committee.

He said they needed to be eight to form quorum and 13 to take decisions and on the first day of vetting, membership was 14.

The former Youth and Sports Minister further disclosed that Parliament has only been officially notified of 12 nominees from the president and so, after having vetted seven last week, five are left to go.

“So far as we are concerned, we have five more to go,” he stressed.

He outlined that Akwasi Oppong Fosu (Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development), Nana Oye Lithur (Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection) and Dr Oteng Adjei (Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation) are scheduled to be vetted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 while Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Minister-designate for Education) and Dr Edward Omane-Boamah (Minister-designate for Communications) will be vetted on Thursday, January 31, 2013.

Once vetting is done with, he says, reports will be sent to Parliament for approval.

“We have to support the government,” he emphasised.



Show us some respect and talk to us well – Nduom warns gov’t

Two-time presidential candidate Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom has warned persons in leadership positions to respect the rights of “we the people” when complaints about the country’s difficulties are made.

The Founder of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) listed this as one of six wishes he hopes to see fulfilled in 2015 on the part of government.

He claims government gave a deaf ear to them in 2014.

“That when we the people complain about difficulties that confront us as we live in our own country, leaders in government will show us some respect and talk to us in a manner that will give us hope for a better tomorrow.”

Dr Nduom firstly charged all including himself to “work hard to improve the living conditions of workers, the poor, the aged and children”.

War against corruption

Writing on his official Facebook page over the weekend, PPP’s 2012 Presidential Candidate also called for an amendment of the constitution with regard to appointment of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and the office of the Attorney General (AG) and Ministry of Justice.

While recommending the election of MMDCEs, Dr Nduom charged President John Dramani Mahama to ensure that the office of the AG and the Ministry of Justice are separated “so that an independent prosecutor can lead a serious effort in the war against corruption”.

He also asked all politicians to focus on developing Ghana and improving the standards of living next year instead of concentrating on the 2016 elections.

“I wish all Ghanaians good health, tolerance for each other’s opinions and a good life in 2015,” he concluded.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana


Prez Mahama yet to spell out parameters for operation of Presidential Priority Projects – Avoka

Mr Cletus Apul Avoka, the former Majority Leader in Parliament, said on Monday that President John Dramani Mahama has not yet spelled out the parameters to enable him and his two colleagues to operate as coordinators for the Presidential Priority Projects.

Mr Avoka, the Member of Parliament for Zebilla, told the GNA in Accra that the president has a vision and had appointed him, Mr Alban Sumani Bagbin, the Member for Parliament for Nadowli West, and Mr E.T Mensah, the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram to be part of the team to implement the vision.

He said the three of them were probably called “the three wise men” because of their level of experience in governance since all of them held ministerial positions in many sectors and should be able to handle the work that the President Mahama would spell out for them.

Mr Avoka said all things being equal and with the resources available, President Mahama should be able to have his vision realized with the projects in order to advance the course of the Better Ghana Agenda.

The nomination of the three has been met with some criticism with some thinking they had been demoted while others feel their positions are a duplication of the roles and functions of some ministers.

The President appointed the three to coordinate the construction of 200 senior high schools, 10 teacher training colleges and one public university in the Eastern Region, the development of regional and specialist hospitals and the development of new international and regional airports.

Mr. Mensah is the immediate past Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Mr Bagbin, immediate past Minister of Health.

Source: GNA


Deepen consultations with the party apparatchiks, Dr Sulley Gariba urged

The Young Democrats, a pro NDC group, has said working in tandem with the party’s apparatchiks and caucuses should be the major concern with the Presidential Committee making the appointments for ministerial positions.

They said there seems to be a deliberate effort to alienate the party’s policy makers and planners, but this is unfortunate for the NDC is a big party with several interconnected groups and careful deliberations and consultations are needed before major decisions are made.

In a phone interview with the GNA, the Convener of the group, Mr Sam Atukwei Quaye, said ministerial appointments are done with broad consultations and agreements, and when the need arises, the entire team then explains to the public the reasons for certain actions and resolutions.

He said the way Dr Sulley Gariba alone is moving from station to station defending the current ministerial appointments does not sound right and it suggests that the entire appointments could have come from his initiative.

Mr Quaye said it is quite evident that capable and qualified people like PV Obeng, Dr Tony Aidoo, Totobi Quakye, Larry Adjetey and the Ahwoi brothers amongst several others, with decades of experiences in handling the affairs of both the party and the country, have been ignored in selecting qualified people to help govern the country.

He said “this is a cause for concern and it would explode if we do not work to rectify it for the actions of those at the helm of affairs should reflect with the vision and manifesto of the party they have joined”.

Mr Quaye said this “is not about targeting people but it is about protecting the image of the party and presenting a united front, for we the Young Democrats feel that after emerging from a hard fought electoral battle, consultations rather than alienation and divisions should be the order of the day.”

He said the group was not happy with the appointment of the three wise men saying “it is meaningless and if Dr Gariba had consulted the appropriate sectors, we would have presented better options for the public to assess”.

Moreso, he said, had the necessary consultations taken place, Mr Rashid Pelpuo would not have been nominated for a stated role, only to be reshuffled to another role in the public domain, – “this is quite unprecedented in the annals of the party”.

Mr Quaye said just as we welcome the President’s all inclusive policy which has led to non-members of the party being appointed to certain strategic positions in our government, it is equally incumbent on such people to work within the visions and expectations of the party and its teeming supporters.

“It is true,” he said, “the party shall have more challenges as it governs the country, but such challenges should not begin by deliberately ignoring and alienating the party’s apparatchiks”.

Source: GNA


George Weah wins Liberia senate seat

The former football star George Weah has won a landslide victory in Liberia’s senate elections, in polls disrupted by the Ebola outbreak.

Mr Weah got 78% of the vote for the Montserrado county seat, which includes the capital Monrovia.

He beat Robert Sirleaf, the son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who took nearly 11%.

Low turnout in the poll, which was first planned for October, was blamed on concerns about Ebola.

Strict health controls were in place to try to prevent the spread of the disease.

Those who came to polling stations had their temperature taken, were told to stand a metre (3ft) apart and wash their hands before and after voting.

Liberia has been one of the countries worst affected by Ebola, with almost 3,400 deaths, the UN says.

Other winners in the senate elections include Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of the jailed former president Charles Taylor, and the former rebel leader Prince Johnson. Both retained their seats.

The National Elections Commission chairman, Jerome Korkoya, called the conclusion of the vote “the end of a crucial journey”.

Mr Weah won the first round of the 2005 presidential election, losing the runoff to Ms Johnson-Sirleaf.

He is the only African to be named Fifa’s world player of the year, winning in 1995.

Source: BBC